“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” made some Emmy history on Monday with its Best Comedy Series victory. It’s the first streaming show to win the award and just the second hour-long show to do so as well. The first? “Ally McBeal,” which took the top prize 19 years ago.
That 1999 ceremony was historic in another sense as “Ally McBeal” creator David E. Kelley became the first — and still only — producer to win Best Comedy Series and Best Drama Series, for “The Practice,” in the same night. Best Drama Series was announced first, so a stunned Kelley, who was already backstage, had to walk back out to give another speech (watch above).
“I said I was surprised before,” he said. “They said backstage, ‘You gotta go back out, you gotta go back out.’ And I thought they made a mistake [and] ‘The Sopranos’ had won drama.”
“Ally McBeal” gave Fox its first of two wins in the category (“Arrested Development” won in 2004) and denied “Frasier” a sixth straight victory.
Prior to “Maisel,” four hour-long shows had been nominated for Best Comedy Series since “Ally McBeal”‘s triumph: “Desperate Housewives” (2005), “Ugly Betty” (2007), “Glee” (2010, 2011) and “Orange Is the New Black” (2014). “Orange,” of course, has since been shifted to drama after the TV academy ruled that 30-minute shows are comedies and 60-minute shows are dramas unless your appeal gets approved.
Unfortunately for “Ally McBeal,” it was never nominated for series again after that historic win despite running for three more seasons. Hopefully that fate won’t befall “Maisel.”